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Early Roman Conquest
The Punic Wars
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Periods of Roman History



Roman Origins (1000-509 BCE)

Earliest settlements on Palatine Hill

753 – Romulus & Remus founding myth
Roman Republic (509-31 BCE)

Etruscan kings overthrown

Republic: a state in which supreme power is held by the people
and their elected representatives

The Punic Wars (264-133 BCE)
Roman Empire (31 BCE – 476 CE)

Began when Octavian defeated Antony & Cleopatra
Note: Rome/Romans does not refer to just the city, but the entire empire of
this civilization and the people who inhabited the regions they conquered
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Rome’s First Conquests
 While
the Romans were developing their form of
government, they also expanded along the Italian
peninsula
 Often
turned to military conquest than peaceful
diplomacy
 Destroyed
BCE)
remaining Etruscan town of Veii (396
+
The Invasion by the Gauls
 390
BCE – Gauls captured
city of Rome
 Heroic
deed by wealthy
Roman women – secured the
funds for a negotiated
ransom
 290s
BCE – Rome dominated
the Italian peninsula as far
South as Magna Graecia
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The Roman Army

Greek phalanx  Roman maniples

60-120 men (maniple) – commanded by a centurion

Allowed for power and versatility, could maneuvre independently

6000 men (legion) – had to hold its formation, main unit

600 men (cohort) – flexibility of the maniples, replaced
maniples at times
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Pyrrhus Invades Italy

280 BCE – Southern Greek citystates in Italy felt threatened by
Rome

Enlisted King of Epirus

20 war elephants & 2 successful
battles

Romans rebounded and
pursued their conquests

Controlled all of Italian
peninsula except the Po Valley
(to the North)
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The Roman Federation

Conquered communities

Degrees of privilege

Roman citizenship



Protection of Roman law, some could
vote, intermarriages with Romans
allowed
Liable to provide troops
How do you control a large territory
without having to demolish or transform
the conqueror’s own institutions?

This system expanded the manpower
available to Rome
+
The Punic Wars

Rome  unified Italian peninsula

Carthage  controlled cities in northern Africa, parts of
Spain, islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and much of Sicily

Leading naval power
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First Punic War (264-241 BCE)

Sicily – under siege from Carthage


Romans sent a force to assist the town of Messana in Sicily
Led to a battle for control of the whole island of Sicily

Romans refused to accept defeat – they were victorious!

Carthage abandoned Sicily and it became the first Roman
province

238 BCE - Sardinia rebelled against Carthaginian control and
Rome seized it and Corsica to form the second Roman
province
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
Second Punic War (219-202 BCE)
Carthage tries to build an empire in southern
Spain as compensation for its losses


Saguntum – town in Spain, Rome promised to
protect led to the outbreak of the most critical
Punic war
219 BCE – Hannibal (Carthage) seized
Saguntum

Wanted to bring the war home to Rome
and conquer it

218 BCE – He led his army across the
Alps with 37 elephants

216 BCE – Victorious over the Romans
at Cannae

Allies remained faithful to Rome, and Hannibal
didn’t have the manpower
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Third Punic War (149-146 BCE)

Rome made an alliance
with Numidia (west of
Carthage)

Numidia plundered the
territory of Carthage to the
point of armed resistance

Marcus Cato persuades
Rome to declare war

146 BCE – city captured,
Roman province named
Africa

133 BCE – Spain conquered
by Rome (Carthage
territory now destroyed)
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